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February 20, 2007 > Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

I'm a long time user of the Alameda Creek Trail. I walk, birdwatch, cycle and run. I think it's such a valuable asset to our community that I wanted to put something back into it. I pay taxes and participate in the elections for people who have ultimate responsibility for managing this resource. Those things seem somewhat abstract. I was looking for a concrete contribution that I could make. I decided that on a Saturday afternoon, I'd go out and pick up trash along the trail.

I'm ashamed to tell you, that starting at the trailhead park in Niles Canyon and following the trail for 2 1/2 miles toward the Bay and returning to the place I started, I picked up 6 1/2 garbage bags of trash. In addition to the trash, I disposed of 15 to 20 piles of dog droppings. I knew that there was a litter problem, but I had no idea of the magnitude of it.

I met some of the Park Rangers who are responsible for this area. Discussing the trash and dog waste problem with them and asking how they felt about it, I was reminded of that anti-litter ad that starred Iron Eyes Cody as an Indian Chief who's standing alongside a freeway and sees a bag of trash tossed from a car. The ad ends with a view of the Indian's face with a tear running down his cheek. The men who work as Rangers in this area cannot believe the indifference and disregard shown by some of the trail users. Having picked up after irresponsible dog owners and people who seem to believe that their one bit of trash won't make a difference, I've arrived at a similar mood.

Those of us who use the public facilities of our community have an obligation to preserve them and treat them as what they are, the shared wealth of all of us. The exercise of just a little care, self discipline, and responsibility will go a long way toward insuring that all of us can enjoy the experience of traveling alameda Creek Trail

Brian Roth

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